The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday. In the decades since, every state but South Dakota came to officially commemorate Juneteenth, but only a handful of states observe it as a paid holiday [The SUN].
The legislation has gained momentum particularly among Black Lives Matter supportees and also due to the Democrats’ takeover of the White House and Congress. Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee are among the members of Congress who led the effort to to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson previously blocked the bill in 2020, saying that the day off for federal employees would cost US taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson dropped his objection this week. “Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate,” said Johnson in a statement. “While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter” [CNN].
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ABC-13.COM